British officials have proposed granting Chinese vendor Huawei a limited role in the deployment of 5G networks in the country, resisting U.S. pressure for a complete ban, Reuters reported, citing two people with knowledge of the matter.
The recommendation was made at a meeting of officials from senior government departments, according to the report.
The officials reportedly proposed to restrict the use of Huawei equipment in the core part of the 5G networks and in restricted government systems.
A spokesman for prime minister Boris Johnson said: “The work on the issue of high risk vendors in the 5G network remains ongoing and when it is completed it will be announced to Parliament.”
A decision by the U.K. government to allow Huawei in the country’s 5G networks will likely anger U.S. officials, who say Huawei equipment could be used by China for spying.
Washington has been urging its key allies to avoid using equipment from Huawei in the rollout of 5G technology. Some countries including Australia, New Zealand and Japan have already banned the Chinese vendor.
U.K. telcos BT and Vodafone were considering writing to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to say they have seen no evidence that would justify a total ban on Huawei and to urge him to make a fact-based decision, according to a recent press report.
The U.K. government is set to take a final decision on Huawei’s role in building new 5G networks this month.
Vodafone, which uses Huawei’s equipment in its radio network, has previously said that a total ban on Huawei would costs it millions of pounds and significantly slow down the rollout of 5G networks.
Vodafone had previously suspended the deployment of Huawei’s equipment in its core networks.
BT also uses Huawei’s equipment in networks, but it is not deployed in the intelligent core of its fixed-line network and it is removing it from the core of its mobile network.
BT has also excluded the Chinese vendor from the bidding process for its future 5G network.
In related news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that diversification is crucial to ensuring a country’s security in the rollout of 5G mobile technology and that a complete ban of one vendor could be counterproductive.
“I don’t think I make myself particularly secure if I completely eliminate providers in their entirety and then don’t know how they develop – I am skeptical about that,” Merkel said at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The German government is currently analyzing the future role of Huawei in 5G rollouts in the country.